Hello all, I've been browsing this forum for a while and decided to set off my first post with a NGD!
Starting off with a weak cellphone pic. Link to higher resolution pics below.
High-Res Photos: jorona11's Library | Photobucket
As you can tell, the past few month or so have been good to me. I managed to get not one, but two guitars I've always wanted, relatively close to each other in timing. I originally ordered the Carvin to be built in March and happened to find an awesome deal on my favorite JP6 model in mint condition with all the case candy) halfway through the wait and decided to pull the trigger on it as well.
Now for the initial impressions:
JP6: What can be said that hasn't already been said about JP's. They rule and this is the best one I've ever played. Super fast but not overly thin neck. This particular model has a very slick and stable roasted maple neck with ebony fretboard. The best non-locking tremolo I've come across. And though the Crunchlab/LiquiFire set are a bit hotter than what I normally like to use, they are very clear and tight without sounding overly saturated.
Holdsworth: Though I think both guitars are equally awesome, this one is a bit more personal to me. I've wanted a Holdsworth for some time now after having played a used one at a GC and have continued to look online for one since. I had recently saved up enough money after upgrading my actual guitar/studio gear to get one and have had it spec'd out for a few months.
H2T - Holdsworth 2-Pickup Wilkinson Tremolo
ASH1 - One Piece Swamp Ash Body w/ One-Piece Matching Top
TF- Tung-Oiled Finish
5MW - 5-Piece Maple Neck w/ 2 Walnut Stripes
BPH - Black Painted Headstock (Satin)
EBF - Ebony Fingerboard (Standard)
NINDI - No Top Inlays - Side Dots Only
STJF - Stainless Jumbo Frets
R20 - 20in Fretboard Radius (Standard)
41 - H22T Bridge Pickup (Standard)
42 - H22N Neck Pickup (Standard)
34 - Push Pull Tone Coil Splitter
BC - Black Hardwared
WL - White Logo
Strings: D'Addario .11-.56, Drop C Tuning
With this particular build I went for a more stripped down look, opt'ing for no inlays and a natural tung oil finish over one-piece body woods. The swamp ash body and matching top in combination with the body-chambering add up to what is one of the lightest guitars I've ever played and/or owned. The Holdsworth pickup set are as fantastic as I remember with a great mix of vintage warmth with modern punch and output. Without getting too deep into details, the H22T bridge delivers a very organic airiness to big open chords while providing a very distinct directness to single notes with a very smooth sustain. The accompanying H22N neck exhibits rich singing characteristics reminiscent of the vintage PAF-style pickups they are while still providing a very fluid sustain with noticable pick attack on fast alternate-picked runs under higher amounts of gain.
Comparing the two models, you immediately notice who each model was made for. The Holdsworth's neck is as we all know, much thicker than that of the JP, but is just as comfortable IMO. The JP is a more neutral sounding guitar with the Holdsworth being more notably bright, which may just be due to the differences in pickups. The Petrucci pickups lend themselves moreso to lead playing (as one would expect) to me while the Holdsworth set excels at the thrashy-er type rhythm sounds that I enjoy. For cleans, the Carvin pickups are the clear winners, though I don't find the clean sounds of the Dimarzio's bad, just not as rich or warm as the former.
Two things I noticed about each model is that, with their current setups, the JP can get notably lower buzz-free string action than the Carvin, but I feel the Holdsworth has better upper-fret access with a more comfortable neck heel.
Both guitars, though very different, are equally awesome shredders that I am lucky to own. Definitely recommend either guitar/company. Feel free to ask any questions about the two. Gonna try to record some clips of these two in the near future. Cheers!
I'm not too fond of the EBs but I do dig that Carvin.